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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carnival

Let me tell you about carnivals, people.

lighterfootstep.com
For 179 school days, I've got classroom systems, routines, and procedures all designed to prevent school from becoming some kind of do-whatever-you-want carnival.  Which is why, at my old school, the end of the year school carnival was a bit of a shock to my system(s).  On the 180th day, the school would become a full-blown, no-holds-barred, actual carnival.  I'm talking ticket-taking, clown-hiring, moon-bounce-inflating c-a-r-n-i-v-a-l, carnival.

We teachers suppressed all hard-wired impulses to tell children to slow down, be still, sit down, or stop eating candy.  We just...let...them...loose.  There are definitely no limits on noise level or sugar consumption listed in official carnival policy.

One year my carnival assignment was the Bungee Run, where two kids raced each other to see who could run father while a bungee cord harness pulled against them.  Another year it was the Space Walk, where I had to monitor kids who were literally bouncing off the (air-filled) walls and every once in a while assist a confused-looking kid who had accidentally popped out of the inflatable entrance and found himself on his behind on the ground.

The year I found out I would be on duty at the balloon animals table, I was a little concerned that my talents had been misrepresented on my initial job application.  Am I supposed to know how to make balloon animals?  Is there a book I need to read to learn how or will someone show me before carnival day?  As it turned out, the only skill I needed to fulfill my assignment was the ability to take tickets from kids.  The expert twisting of balloon hats and swords was left to a professional clown.

For an hour and a half, I collected tickets from eager and sweaty kids who had just either had their face painted by another clown, or whose face coloring resulted from three Blue Rasperry Blast slushies.  Students zoomed by (Slow dowwwwn......) with shirts in various stages of stain, clutching prizes, out of breath, high on adrenaline from the Fun Slide, eyes wide and looking for the next rush.

Now THAT, my friends, is a carnival.

And in other carnival-related news, Bellringers has the latest Carnival of Education post up with some cool links to education blogs!  Check it out!

3 comments:

Sparkling said...

OMG I do not know what I would do. I am certain I could not handle that much freedom given in my presence. I hate field day and there even any carnival like things involved in field day. Wow. I can't even imagine.

Sarah said...

We've had carnival days in the past, but it sure sounds like your school goes ALL OUT! Thank goodness it's only one day and not the 179 others!! :)

By the way - beautiful segue into the carnival of eduction. Did not see that coming :)

Sarah Garb said...

Yeah--field day, carnivals, field trips any days of little structure make me rather nervous.